First, let preface this review by stating that prior to this machine I owned some sort of Braun grinder about ten years ago. It went with an espresso machine that I bought at a large retail home center. It was so long ago that I don't remember the name of the machine or the grinder. I just remember the grinder was a Braun.
I think it is also important to note that this grinder is the manual version of the Mazzer Mini. Vaneli's still has several of these left in stock, but you know the routine - when they're gone. . . Having never used a timer model, I can only say that I believe I appreciate and like this type of machine better. I would honestly have no idea how long to set a timer to grind.
Out of the well packed box, this machine requires very little in the way of set up. You basically have to attach the bean hopper and tighten one screw to lock it into place. After that, plug it up and it is ready to use. Of course, I read the manual before using and that did help. I have found some of these manuals to be a little spartan and lacking any specific directions for a newbie such as myself. Luckily, operation of the Mazzer is fairly intuitive.
In a matter of moments, I had filled the hopper with beans and proceeded to test grind for coarseness some Intelligentsia for use in my drip brewer. It didn't take very long for me to adjust the dial on the grinder to get the proper medium-coarse grind for the coffee. The doser was also pretty straightforward to use. I just put a portafilter basket under it and clicked the lever a few times to fill up the basket. After that, I transfered the ground coffee to a tupperware container for use in the Technivorm.
As mentioned in a previous review, the sweeper doesn't seem to get all of the coffee out of the doser, but that really isn't a huge problem. For my purposes, I think I like having the doser for instances like this where I want to grind coffee beans for use in my drip coffeemaker. I know the doserless model would be ideal for use with making espresso, but I like being able to grind up enough coffee to brew two consecutive pots of drip coffee and the doser will hold that ground up coffee while I transfer it to an appropriate container.
According to Gene at Vaneli's, this grinder is the top in his list. At one time, I was considering the MACAP because it does come with the manual switch. Until I contacted Vaneli's I believed it was no longer possible to get the Mini with a simple ON/OFF switch. I was surprised that Gene still had several Mini's left with the switch. Surprised and happy!
One concern I had about a grinder and espresso set up was that I would not be able to operate it early in the morning without waking my wife and son. Not so with this grinder. I was really quite floored by the quiet operation of this machine. Drawing water from the tap is louder than the sound of this machine in full operation. I was able to grind away at 5:00am without summoning the spectre of my wife's unhappy face (she normally has a happy face, but at 5:00am. . . . .)!
Once I get my LaSpaziale connected later today, I expect the ease of dialing between the grind required for drip coffee and espresso will be no problem at all. I look forward to years of faithful service from my Mazzer. I'm glad I followed Gene's lead on this. He did highly rate the MACAP and said it was an outstanding piece of machinery, however, Mazzer was still number one on his own personal list. By the way, Gene is one of the number one dealers for grinders in the US, so he has some experience under his belt for his evaluation.